Metrolinx 'concerned' about Bombardier delays for Eglinton Crosstown vehicles

Metrolinx officials say they're concerned about delivery delays of light-rail vehicles needed for two key transit lines under construction: Eglinton Crosstown and Finch Avenue West.

Vehicles are 'more than 21 months late'

Metrolinx is concerned that delays at Bombardier could hold up the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line, slated to begin service in 2021. (Metrolinx)

Metrolinx is working to resolve a dispute with Bombardier Inc. over delivery delays of light-rail vehicles needed for two key Toronto transit lines under construction: Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West. 

​In a statement emailed to CBC News, Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said the provincial agency that oversees regional transit planning for the Greater Toronto Area "has been concerned about Bombardier's performance for some time as there have been significant quality and manufacturing issues that to-date have not been resolved."

Quebec-based Bombardier is under contract to supply 182 light rail vehicles to Metrolinx. The contract is worth $770 million.

Aikins said Bombardier is now "over 21 months late" on the completion of pilot vehicles needed for testing. She said Metrolinx "hasn't ruled anything out as of yet" in getting the problem addressed.

"We are very anxious to see a resolution given the opening of Eglinton Crosstown in 2021," she said. "Bombardier's original anticipated production date was September 2014 and delivery to follow in spring 2015." 

Built in to the Metrolinx contract is a process that allows disputes to be settled without going to court. Metrolinx officials said this process is underway, but denied a report that they've threatened Bombardier with legal action.

Bombardier spokesman Marc-Andre Lefebvre said the pilot vehicle will be delivered in August and be ready for testing in September.

"Based on this timeline, and the strong production recovery plan it recently announced, Bombardier is confident that it will meet its commitments," he said in an email to CBC News. 

Bombardier delay also affects TTC streetcars

News about problems with the Eglinton Crosstown vehicle production comes as the TTC continues to wrangle with Bombardier over delays in getting new streetcars delivered.

In 2009, Bombardier began a $1.2-billion contract to build 209 of the high-capacity, low-floor streetcars needed to replace older vehicles near the end of their service life. The older streetcars are expensive to maintain and sometimes fail to operate in cold weather. 

Bombardier was supposed to deliver 73 of the new streetcars by the end of 2015; so far only 22 have been delivered.

In April, TTC CEO Andy Byford expressed frustration over the streetcar delays, saying he planned to hold Bombardier's "feet to the fire."